Movie Advent Calendar #06 – Paddington

Mrs Brown says that in London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in. I think she must be right – because although I don’t look like anyone else, I really do feel at home. I’ll never be like other people, but that’s alright, because I’m a bear. A bear called Paddington.

In 2011 I did a musical advent calendar that I posted to Google+ (remember that) and a final summary on this blog. In 2012 I did a cinematic advent calendar of twenty four films. These were films that I really liked and have enjoyed at the cinema. In 2019 I did a televisual advent calendar of twenty four television programmes. These were television programmes that I really liked and have enjoyed watching. This year on a similar theme I will be posting a movie advent calendar of twenty four movies.

I loved the Paddington Bear books and the BBC animated television series based on the books by Michael Bond. That series was broadcast from 1976 to 1980, scripted by Bond himself, and produced by FilmFair. It was narrated by Michael Hordern, who also voiced all of the characters.

So when the Paddington film was announced and released in 2014, I was hesitant and a little sceptical. I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t be as good as the TV series from the 1970s. Well to be perfectly honest I don’t think the film is as good as the series. However, despite that, I really enjoyed the film. I thought all the cast did an excellent job. Ben Whishaw’s characterisation of Paddington was spot on, as Paddington was a young bear, and I can see how the original casting of Colin Firth was probably inspired by the BBC series narration, but didn’t work, as Paddington was a single character, whereas Hordern did all the voices in the BBC series.

The story was certainly cinematic and I think that is why the film worked for me. This wasn’t a TV programme on the big screen, this was a big screen adaptation for the character. The set pieces, from the flooded bathroom, the Geographers’ Guild were fun.

There is one scene which does amuse me, and that is when the Brown family find Paddington at Paddington Station. The scenes set on the platform reflect the reality of Paddington Station. Then they go to the station tea room. Yes you might have seen such a station in the 1950s, but not in 2014, when there was a Caffe Nero and a Costa at the station. I kind of wish there was such a tea room at the station now!

I have to say I also enjoyed the sequel, Paddington 2. Hugh Grant was excellent. I even enjoyed the skitch to celebrate the Jubilee in 2022. I also see that a sequel Paddington in Peru is set to begin principal photography in 2023.

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